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Generic Tax Name Capital tax - Inheritance tax and transfer duty upon death
Tax name in the national language Droits de succession et de mutation par décès / Successierechten en rechten van overgang (bij overlijden)
Tax name in English Inheritance tax and transfer duty upon death
Member State BE-Belgium
Tax in force since 1936/06/01
If abolished, date on which the tax ceases to apply
Business version date 2015/01/01
Version date 2015/02/17
This file was last updated on

Type of tax
Direct taxes Personal income tax
Corporate income tax
Other

Indirect taxes VAT
Excise duty (EU harmonised)
Alcoholic beverages
Energy products and electricity
Manufactured tobacco
Other

Social security contribution Employers
Employees
Other
 
Legal base

The Estate Duty Code and the decrees issued for its implementation; the Flemish Tax Code (FTC) for the Flemish region as from 1 January 2015. 

 
Who sets
The tax rate is set by




The tax base is set by




The reliefs are set by




Comments
 
Beneficiary





Comments

 
Geographical Scope

The inheritance tax and transfer duty upon death have been transferred to the different regions of the country: the Flemish Region, the Walloon Region and the Region of Brussels-Capital.

 
Taxpayers

The heir or the legatee.

 
Tax object and basis of assessment

Duties are calculated, per bracket, on the basis of the share (net assets) inherited by each of the heirs or legatees.

The gross tax base is in principle the market value of the goods as of the day of the death.

 
Deductions, Allowances, Credits, Exemptions

A. Inheritances opened in the Flemish Region

Table I (see rates) possibly applies twice for each of the lineal relatives or partners: once on the portion representing the net immovable property and once on the portion representing the net movable property.

The lineal heirs and the partners are entitled to a degressive tax reduction of maximum € 500. There is no reduction for net shares (sum of both movable and immovable property but excluding the family dwelling house) exceeding € 50,000. For net shares up to € 50,000, the reduction amounts to € 500 x (1 - share/50,000).

The testator's brothers and sisters are entitled to a tax reduction when their net share does not exceed € 75,000. If the net share does not exceed € 18,750, the reduction amounts to € 2,000 x share/20,000. If the net share exceeds € 18,750 but does not exceed € 75,000, the reduction amounts to € 2,500 x (1 - net share/75,000).

All other heirs are entitled to a tax reduction, provided the sum of their net shares does not exceed € 75,000. That reduction is apportioned between the heirs in proportion to their net share of the inheritance. Where the aggregate of the net shares does not exceed € 12,500, the reduction amounts to € 2,000 x (aggregate of the net shares)/12,500. Where the aggregate exceeds € 12,500 but does not exceed € 75,000, the reduction amounts to € 2,400 x (1 - [aggregate of the shares]/75,000).

There is a € 75 tax reduction in favour of the children for each full year below the age of 21, as well as a reduction, in favour of the surviving partner, amounting to half the total amount of the additional reductions to which the common children are entitled. These reductions apply to all net shares, whatever their amount.

Upon certain condictions and their relationship to decesased, disabled heirs are entitled to a tax abatement.

Shares in real property UCITs recognized by the Flemish government in the framework of the financing and constructing of services providing apartment buildings or residential complexes are exempt from inheritance tax.

Provided certain conditions are met, assets and shares of family businesses or family companies which are part of an estate, are liable to the 3% rate for an inheritance between lineal relatives and partners, and to the 7% rate for an inheritance between other persons. Numerous stipulations must be met in order to obtain or maintain this advantage. Those reduced rates do not apply to the inheritance of immovable property essentially used or intended to be used as a dwelling. 

Under certain circumstances, the value of unbuilt immovable property situated in the VEN (Vlaams Ecologisch Netwerk - Flemish Green Network) and of immovable property (land as well as fixtures) to be considered as woodlands is exempt from inheritance tax.

When previously inherited goods are inherited again within a year after the first death, the inheritance tax on the second transfer is reduced by half. 

 

B. Inheritances opened in the Walloon Region

No inheritance tax is due on any inheritance of which the net assets do not exceed € 620. 

The lineal heirs, the surviving spouse or legal cohabitant are entitled to an exemption of € 12,500, which means there is no liability to inheritance tax for the first € 12,500 bracket. Moreover, where the net portion inherited by the beneficiary does not exceed € 125,000, this abatement is extended to the second bracket (€ 12,500 - € 25,000). The abatement is increased, in favour of each of the children under 21, by € 2,500 for each whole year remaining until they reach the age of 21 (additional abatement) and also, in favour of the surviving spouse or legal cohabitant, by half the total amount of the additional abatements to which the common children are entitled. The total amount of the exemption is imputed preferentially to the successive brackets of the net portion of the immovable property liable to the specific rate for dwellings, starting with the lowest bracket. The rest, if any, will be imputed to the successive brackets of the net portion in other property liable to estate duties, starting with the lowest bracket of the rate actually applicable to other property.

Brothers and sisters up to the second degree of a minor deceased benefit a deduction of 12,500 euro. If the net share devolved to the beneficiary does not exceed 125,000 euro, this deduction is increased up to the second bracket, between 12,500 euro and 25,000 euro. The total exempted amount is credited against the successive brackets of the net share in the goods subject to estate duties, starting with the lowest bracket of the rate actually applicable to these goods.

 

A reduction of the inheritance tax and of the transfer duty upon death is granted to each heir, legatee or donee of whom, at the opening of the succession, at least three children were alive and under 21. 

With respect to as well the inheritance tax as the transfer duty upon death, assets and shares of certain businesses or companies which are part of inheritances are charged at a 0% rate, provided certain conditions are met. This rate does not apply to conveyances of rights in rem related to immovable property used wholly or partly as a dwelling at the time of the decease.

If, within a year of the death of the deceased, the goods which are received through inheritance are transferred anew through death, the inheritance tax or the transfer duty upon death on this second transfer is reduced by half.

In the Walloon Region are exempted from inheritance tax and transfer duty upon death, under certain conditions :

- the value of growing trees in woodlands and forests;

- the value of stocks and shares of forestry groups, inasmuch as this value relates to growing trees in woodlands and forests;

- the value of real estate located within the perimeter of a Natura 2000 site or within the perimeter of a candidate site for the Natura 2000 network.

Provided certain conditions are met and with a limit amounting to 250,000 euro, an exemption of inheritance tax and transfert duty upon death is granted for the share inherited by a lineal heir or between spouses or between legal cohabitants, by the brothers and sisters of the deceased or by the children of those brothers and sisters, in all cases they are entitled by law to inherit from a victim deceased as a result of an exceptional act of violence.

 

 C. Inheritances opened in the Region of Brussels-Capital

No inheritance tax or transfer duty upon death is due on any inheritance of which the net amount does not exceed € 1,250. 

With respect to the inheritance tax and the transfer duty upon death, the lineal heirs, the surviving spouse or legal cohabitant are entitled to an exemption of € 15,000, which means there is no liability to inheritance tax for this bracket of € 15,000. This abatement is increased, in favour of each of the children under 21, by € 2,500 for each whole year remaining until they reach the age of 21 (additional abatement) and also, in favour of the surviving spouse or legal cohabitant, by half the total amount of the additional abatements to which the common children are entitled.

A reduction of the inheritance tax and of the transfer duty upon death is granted to each heir, legatee or donee of whom, at the opening of the succession, at least three children were alive and under 21.

With respect to as well inheritance tax as transfer duty upon death, assets and shares of certain small and medium enterprises which are part of inheritances are charged at a 3% rate, provided certain conditions are met. The tax base of the inheritance to be taken into consideration for this reduction is added to the rest of the share received in order to determine the progressive inheritance tax for the estate.

Where an inheritance devolving to lineal heirs or cohabitants not entitled to the exemption for the family dwelling house, holds unrestricted ownership of at least a part of the dwelling the testator had been using as his main residence for at least five years before his decease, the net value of that part is, under certain conditions, liable to inheritance tax according to the Table I rates, with the following adjustments :

-€ 0.01 to € 50,000 bracket : 2% instead of 3%

-€ 50,000 to € 100,000 bracket : 5.3% instead of 8%

-€ 100,000 to € 175,000 bracket : 6% instead of 9%

-€ 175,000 to € 250,000 bracket : 12% instead of 18%

In order to determine the progressive inheritance tax applying to the inheritance, the tax base of the inheritance entitled to this tax relief is added to the remainder of the heir's share;

If, within a year of the death of the deceased, the goods which are received through inheritance are transferred anew through death, the inheritance tax or the transfer duty upon death on this second transfer is reduced by half.

 
Rate(s) Structure

Tax rates vary:

1. according to the degree of kinship between the beneficiary and the deceased,

2. according to the net share inherited by each of the heirs,

3.according to the Region to which estate duties come. In case the deceased was a resident, estate duties come to the Region where his last fiscal domicile was located. However, when the deceased had been fiscally domiciled in more than one Region during the last five years preceding his death, the longest-lasting of the domiciliations will determine the Region to which estate duties come. In case the deceased was not a resident, estate duties come to the Region where the estate is located. The taxes are computed according to brackets and tax rates that can differ depending on the Region where they are levied.

 

Rates and particular provisions per Region

A. Inheritances opened in the Flemish Region

 Table I - Inheritances between lineal relatives and between partners

 Bracket of the net obtained value in euro

 Tax rates in %

 From

 To

 Upon lineal relatives and between partners

 0.01

 50,000

 3

 50,000.01

 250,000

 9

 >250,000

 

 27

     

 « Partner » is described as : 

1. the person who is married with the testator at the date the inheritance is opened;

2. the person who, in line wiht the terms of the Civil Code, legally cohabits with the testator at the date the inheritence is opened; 

 or

3. the persons who, at the date the inheritance is opened, has or have been living together with the testator, sharing his household, for at least one year without interruption (three years with respect to the reduction for family dwellings). These conditions are also deemed to be met when the cohabitation and the sharing of the household have become impossible due to force majeure. A certificate of residence holds a refutable assumption of uninterrupted cohabitation and shared household.

The net part in the family dwellings is exempted for partners, but not for lineal relatives nor assimilated lineal relatives of the deceased.

 

« Inheritance between lineal relatives» is described as :

  1.  An inheritance between persons being lineal relatives, or fully adopted, according to the Civil Code.
  2. An inheritance between a person and the child of his partner. In case the inheritance occurs after the decease of the partner, the partnership should have lasted until the partner's death.
  3. An inheritance between persons who have or have had a caretaking (although non-biological) parent-child relationship. Such a relationship is supposed to exist when a person aged less than 21 has continously cohabited for three years with the caretaker and has received, from the caretaker and his/her partner assistance and care which are usually provided to children by their parents. The registration at the caretakers address of the non-biological child is a refutable presumption of the cohabitation;
  4. under certain conditions, inheritances following simple adaption; 
  5. inheritances between ex-partners, if there are common descendants

 

 

Table II - Inheritances between brothers and sisters or between “others”

Bracket of taxable amount in euro

Tax rates in %

From

To

Between brothers and sisters

Between “others”

0.01

75,000

30

45

75,000.01

125,000

55

55

>125,000

 

65

65

       

 

“Taxable amount” is described as follows:

- as far as brothers and sisters are concerned : the net obtained value of each of the beneficiary;

- as far as “others” are concerned: the sum of the net obtained values of these persons.

 

B. Inheritances opened in the Walloon Region

Table I - Inheritances between lineal relatives, between spouses and between legal cohabitants

Bracket of the net share in €

Tax rates in %

From

to (including)

Upon lineal relatives and between spouses and legal cohabitants

0.01

12,500

3

12,500.01

25,000

4

25,000.01

50,000

5

50,000.01

100,000

7

100,000.01

150,000

10

150,000.01

200,000

14

200,000.01

250,000

18

250,000.01

500,000

24

>500,000

 

30

     

 

· the “spouse” is the person who, on the date the inheritance was opened, was married with the deceased, in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Code, and the person who, on the date the inheritance was opened, was married with the deceased, in accordance with Chapter III of the law on private international law.

· the “legal cohabitant” is the person who, on the date the inheritance was opened, was domiciled with the deceased and was legally cohabiting with the deceased, in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Code, and the person who, on the date the inheritance was opened, was domiciled with the deceased or had his/her habitual residence with the deceased, within the meaning of Article 4 of the law on private international law, and was living together with the deceased in accordance with Chapter IV of the abovementioned law.

This tax rate is not applicable where the spouses are divorced or legally separated or where the legal cohabitants submitted a declaration of termination of the legal cohabitation in accordance with the Civil Code, and have no children or common descendants.

 

Table II - Inheritances between collateral relatives and between non-relatives

Bracket of the net share in €

Tax rate in %

 

From

 

to (including)

Between brothers and sisters

Between uncles or aunts and nephews or nieces

Between all other persons

0.01

12,500

20

25

30

12,500.01

25,000

25

30

35

25,000.01

75,000

35

40

60

75,000.01

175,000

50

55

80

>175,000

 

65

70

80 (*)

         

(*) In its judgment of June 22nd, 2005 the Constitutional Court has invalidated article 1 of the decree of the Walloon Region dated 22.10.2003 insofar as the tax rate exceeds 80% in the 'more than € 175,000' bracket.

 

Where inheritances between lineal relatives, between spouses or between legal cohabitants hold at least a part in full ownership of the real property having been the testator's main residence for at least five years before his death, the estate duty on the net worth of that part is, after deduction, as appropriate, of the value relating to the professional share of the real property entitling to the application of the 0% rate, under certain circumstances levied according to the rates of Table III hereafter.

 

TABLE III - Inheritances of dwellings between lineal relatives, spouses or legal cohabitants (preferential rate)

    

 Bracket of the net share (euro)

  

Spouse or legal cohabitant

Lineal heir, donnee, legatee 

 

from

 

to (and included)

Rate in %

Rate in % 

0.01

25,000

0

 1 

25,000.01

50,000

0

 2 

50,000.01

160,000

0

 5

160,000.01

175,000

5

 5

175,000.01

250,000

12

 12

250,000.01

>500,000

500,000

 

24

30

24

30

       

 

In order to determine the progressive inheritance tax applying to the inheritance, the tax base of the inheritance entitled to this preferential rate is added to the remainder of the heir's share.

 

C. Inheritances opened in the Region of Brussels-Capital 

Table I - Inheritances between lineal relatives, between spouses and between cohabitants

Bracket of the net share in €

Tax rate in %

From

to (including)

Upon lineal relatives and between spouses

0.01

50,000

3

50,000.01

100,000

8

100,000.01

175,000

9

175,000.01

250,000

18

250,000.01

500,000

24

>500,000

 

30

     

  The assignees’ net share (spouse or cohabitant) in the real estate being the family dwelling house at the time of death, is exempted from inheritance tax and from transfer duty upon death. This exemption does apply neither to the cohabitant who is a lineal relative of the deceased or assimilated to a lineal relative, nor to the cohabiting assignee who is a brother or sister, a nephew or niece, an uncle or aunt of the deceased.

 

“Cohabitant” is described as a person being in a situation of legal cohabitation, such as defined in the Civil Code.

For the application of the tax rate between lineal relatives, is assimilated to a descendant of the deceased a child who is not a descendant of the deceased provided that this child, aged less than 21, has continuously cohabited for six years with the deceased and has received from the deceased and his/her spouse or cohabitant together assistance and care which are usually provided to children by their parents. The registration of the child in the population register or in the register of aliens presumes, unless evidence to the contrary is provided, the cohabitation with the deceased. For the application of the same tax rate, is assimilated to the deceased's father or mother the person who provided the deceased, under the same conditions, abovementioned assistance and care.

The tax rate of the duties between spouses and between cohabitants does not apply, as appropriate, where the spouses are divorced or legally separated or where the legal cohabitation ceased to exist, unless the spouses or the cohabitants have children or common descendants.

 

Table II - Inheritances between brothers and sisters

Bracket of taxable amount in €

Tax rate in %

From

to (including)

between brothers and sisters

0.01

12,500

20

12,500.01

25,000

25

25,000.01

50,000

30

50,000.01

100,000

40

100,000.01

175,000

55

175,000.01

250,000

60

>250,000

 

65

     

Table III - Inheritances between uncles or aunts and nephews or nieces

Bracket of taxable amount in €

Tax rate in %

From

to (including)

between uncles or aunts and nephews or nieces

0.01

50,000

35

50,000.01

100,000

50

100,000.01

175,000

60

>175,000

 

70

     

Table IV - Inheritances between any other persons

Bracket of taxable amount in €

Tax rate in %

From

to (including)

between any other persons

0.01

50,000

40

50,000.01

75,000

55

75,000.01

175,000

65

>175,000

 

80

     

In respect of inheritances between lineal heirs, spouses or cohabitants and between brothers and sisters, the rates of Table I and Table II apply to the share of each assignee in the taxable value of the assets. In respect of the other inheritances, the rates of Table III and Table IV apply to the aggregate shares of the assignees in the taxable value of the assets.

 
Tax due date

In Wallonia and the Brussels Capital Region the legal successors must file a self-assessment within 4, 5 or 6 months after the decease, according as to whether the testator died in Belgium, elsewhere in Europe or outside Europe and the tax must be paid within the next two months. 

In Flanders the legal successors must file a declaration within 4, 5 or 6 months after the decease, according as to whether the testator died in Belgium, elsewhere in the European Economic Area (EEA) or outside the EEA. The tax due is then assessed by the tax administration and must be paid within two months following the assessment date. 

 
Tax collector

Since January 2015 the Flemish tax administration collects the tax in the Flemish Region. The Federal Public Service Finance contiunes to collects the tax in both the Walloon and the Brussels Capital Region.

 
Special features

A distinction is made between the inheritance tax and the transfer duty upon death, but the rates are simular.

Inheritance tax is charged on the net value of the estate of a deceased inhabitant of the Kingdom, i.e. on the value of the aggregate of all the property belonging to the deceased (movable or immovable, located in the country or outside the country), after deduction of the latter's duly established liabilities and the funeral costs.

The transfer duty upon death is a tax which is levied on the value of immovable property situated in Belgium of a non-inhabitant of the Kingdom, after deduction of certain debts. In the Walloon Region, debts specifically relating to this property are deductible. In the Flemish Region and in the Brussels-Capital Region, debts specifically contracted to acquire or maintain this property are deductible if the deceased was an inhabitant of the EEA.

Gifts disposed within three years preceding the decease are considered as part of the inheritance if the donation has not been liable to the donation duty. In the Flemish Region, as far as certain assets of family businesses or shares of family companies are concerned, the three years period can be brought to seven years.

 
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Tax revenue
ESA95 code d91aa

Year
Annual tax revenue (millions)
Currency
Tax revenue as % of GDP
Tax revenue as % of total tax revenue
2012 2,342.50 EUR 0.60
2011 2,093.30 EUR 0.55
2010 1,965.90 EUR 0.54
2009 1,779.90 EUR 0.51
2008 1,881.70 EUR 0.53
2007 1,702.20 EUR 0.49
2006 1,611.10 EUR 0.49
2005 1,484.90 EUR 0.48
2004 1,396.00 EUR 0.47
2003 1,229.30 EUR 0.43
2002 1,117.50 EUR 0.41
2001 1,072.70 EUR 0.40
2000 1,041.90 EUR 0.40

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